High-speed video shows how bugs change course in a flash
Fruit flies turn in midair with a shrug of their shoulders.
A new analysis shows that the flies’ aerial gymnastics are driven by wing joints that act like wind-up toys, letting the bugs whirl around almost automatically.
Insights from the study, which was published online April 5 in Physical Review Letters, could someday help build better flying robots.
Fruit flies beat their wings about once every four milliseconds — faster than their neurons can fire — and can turn 120 degrees in 18 wing beats. This made study coauthor Itai Cohen of Cornell University wonder, “How much of the wing motion